The Anti-Slavery Movement
Rockport, Feby [February] 10th, 1863
H. S. Philbrook
Even Pool Jr.
Chas. S. Tarr
John J. Manning
Joseph T. Haskins
J. S. Choate
J. F. Moore
H. P. Bray
M. H. Knight
Albert M. Sanborn
W. M. Manning
E. B. Andrews
Edward G. Slocum
Chas. Knowlton Jr.
Alpheus (?) Pierce
Francis Tarr Jr.
Levi S. Gott
George W. Tarr
The Fugitive Slave Act
“We shall never get any better, until we see ourselves in an honest glass; until we get out of this habit of praising ourselves. The people of Massachusetts are not Abolitionists—but a very small portion of them. The State is a pro-slavery State, as a whole. The Fourth of July is a pro-slavery day—a day meant to commemorate the independence of thirteen States, in every one of which there were slaves when the Declaration was issued; and not one of which took the slightest measure, for years afterwards, to free a slave.”14https://www.walden.org/lectures/thoreaus-lectures-before-walden-lecture-43/
Cape Ann Abolitionists
Henry C. Wright, for example, whose letterbook was found in the Annisquam Historical Society’s
Deluge 8 Firehouse on Walnut St. in Gloucester, gave a speech at the 1838 annual meeting of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society at Faneuil Hall in Boston.16Proceedings of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society at the Annual Meetings held in 1854, 1855, and 1856, Boston:
In 1854 Maria Weston Chapman and John T. Sargent served as “counsellors” providing guidance to the organization, and Mehitable Haskell of Gloucester was a nominating officer.17Officers, Members and Supporters of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society: http://www.americanabolitionists.com/massachusetts-anti-slavery-society.html Mehitable, or “Aunt Hitty” (1789-1878) and her brother Thomas (1791-1873) were both very active in the anti-slavery movement. Thomas Haskell was president of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society in 1842 and arranged for Charles Remond and Parker Pillsbury to visit Rockport during a Quarterly Meeting of the Society at the Universalist Church in Rockport.18Bray, Maria Herrick, 1908, Aunt Hitty: Biographical and Reminiscent Narration of Aunt Hitty and Uncle Thomas Haskell (Salem); http://hfa.haskells.net/haskellfamilyna/pafg62.htm. The Society at the Universalist Church in Rockport is currently known as the Unitarian Universalist Society of Rockport.
Source: Shopping Days in Retro Boston
The Underground Railroad
Manchester-by-the-Sea, and the Old Parsonage on 19 North Main St. in Ipswich.25Abolitionists and the Underground Railroad in Essex County: https://www.nps.gov/sama/learn/historyculture/upload/UGRRsm.pdf
Mehitable Haskell and Her Brother Thomas Haskell
It was agreed that the organization would be known as the New England Non-Resistance Society, and Article III of their constitution stated that “any person, without distinction of sex or color, who consents to the principles of this Constitution, and contributes to the funds of this Society, may become a member and be entitled to vote at its meetings.”34The Liberator, Sep. 28, 1838
“that the prejudice existing in this country against the negro, on account of his complexion, which is so apparent not only on southern plantations, but in the churches, stages, steamboats, railroad cars, grave-yards, and other associations and arrangements of the North, is manifestly vulgar, cruel and murderous; and ought to be as far removed from every human breast, as it is from that God who is no respecter of persons.”39
“This meeting, as I understand it, was called to discuss the question of Woman’s Rights. Well, I do not pretend to know exactly what woman’s rights are; but I know that I have groaned for forty, yea, for fifty years, under a sense of woman’s wrongs.”44McCord, Louisa S.C., Political and Social Essays, 1995, fn7 p.129
“She still made time, out of what we should have thought perhaps a narrow life, to consider the broadest problems, and think upon all the disputed questions of the age. And although deeply interested, profoundly interested, in such questions, I never saw in her the slightest intolerance. …[her] active brain has been by the blessing of God a strength and a help to break the chains of four millions of people, and remove the deeper prejudice even than that which curbs the sphere of woman.”51Bray, Maria Herrick, Aunt Hitty, Salem Press, 1908
Abolitionist Speakers on Cape Ann
by Rev. Parker Pillsbury
at the First Universalist Society of Rockport that was marred by an act of violence. His audience included members of the Essex County Anti-Slavery Society, but roughly half the congregation opposed his presence and anti-slavery stance.53Frederick Douglass, Partial Speaking Itinerary, 1839-46: http://nbhistoricalsociety.org/douglass/DouglassVolume_1_itenerary.pdf He had been invited by free speech advocate and minister at the time Rev. Stillman Barden.54The Liberator, December 13, 1861, p. 199 According to one account of the attack on Pillsbury:
A Bomb-Shell in Church.—On Sunday evening, November 1, 1861, there were in the Universalist Church an audience of about seventy persons listening to an address on the slavery question by Parker Pillsbury. While he was speaking some person threw a sort of bomb-shell through a window on the north side of the house; it fell near Mr. Pillsbury’s feet and exploded. The audience were greatly frightened and left the house, which was filled with smoke. After the smoke cleared some few persons returned to the church, and Mr. Pillsbury resumed his lecture. There was no other disturbance. This missile was made by wrapping a few pieces of coal and a quantity of powder in a cloth and securing it by a cord tightly drawn about it; the whole saturated with spirits of turpentine….
suggested it might have been an inside job, as the first several rows of pews were unaccountably unoccupied at the time, and it was known that a substantial number of members of the congregation were opposed to having a speaker on abolition.
In whatever else this Union may fail, in this we are resolved not to fail: that Slavery, in root and branch, in leaf and fibre, shall be blotted out forever in this nation….We commit a great mistake if we do not now and forever settle the negro question; we have got hold of it, and should settle it now and forever, in light of our recent contest, and of justice, so that it may never again arise, in any form.
Source: Gloucester Telegraph, October 25, 1865 (public domain)
The Henry C. Wright Letterbook as a Window on the Times
I wrote you…that I was glad of your continued success in diffusing Anti-Slavery. This morning I showed William Smeal your letter detailing your novel [experiences?] for returning from Scotland the disgrace brought on us by the “Free” taking “blood money” from the American slaveholders. [Smeal] was pleased with the idea & thinks if brought forward the best way will be at a public meeting in Glasgow on the return of yourself, Douglass, & Buffum. He is to consider of it further for a day, but this is his present opinion. [He] has another letter from Ian Fenwick informing the good meeting you had in Perth & sending a Perth newspaper containing a short notice of it….[The] paper contains report of an excellent meeting against militia on peace principles at which Stowel [William Scott—Lord Stowell?] spoke.
We are all well…. When do you return & what are your plans in the north! Best love from all to yourself, & D [Douglass] & B [Buffum] if in your company. I am, Dear Henry,